Heads Up! Designing Meaningful Car Windshield Displays

1. Visualization > Numbers

smart — the speed is visualized relative to the current speed limit. © Cécile Zahorka, Fabian Archner, Sebastian Kaim
Citroën — the circle around the map is a visualization of the speed. When the two thick half-circles meet at the top, the speed limit has been reached. Video prototype: http://vimeo.com/121346315 © Marie Claire Leidinger, Jonathan Jonas, David Brandau
VW — The abstract graph represents the relationship between speed and speed limit. © Dominic Rödel, Laurids Düllmann, Phillip Steinacher
Lexus — the speed is visualized on a horizontal line. The speed limit stays at the line’s center. When going faster, the graph fades to yellow and the speed line gets thicker. © Christian Franke, Sebastian Prein, Lennart Ziburski

2. Redundant Information, Different Presentation

Tesla — The Tesla HUD shows a simplified version of the dashboard’s speed meter. © Constantin Eichstaedt, Steffen Gabel
BMW — This HUD not only displays the speed, but it also is a visualization of the hybrid motor’s status and activity. © Patricia Dobrindt, Simon Martin, Jakob Flemming

3. If It’s Not Indicating Something, It Shouldn’t Be There ( — Jony Ive)

smart — The navigation hint only appears just before making a turn. Permanent information (e.g. ETA) is intentionally left out of the HUD. © Cécile Zahorka, Fabian Archner, Sebastian Kaim

4. Blurred Can Still Be Legible

Mercedes-Benz (left), VW (right) — even if the UI is out of focus (blurred), the important information (driving too fast) is still discernible. © left: David Rehman, Michael Dietz, Thomas Petrach; ©right: Dominic Rödel, Laurids Düllmann, Phillip Steinacher

5. A Projection Is Not a Display

Mini — this concepts features a menu selection for navigation, phone, and music. This example illustrates the challenge of having a permanently projected menu on the windshield. © Kien Nguyen Canh, Moritz Kronberger

6. The Car Should Not Patronize the Driver

Mercedes — The more the driver exceeds the speed limit, the more red circles appear around the speed indicator. Video prototype: http://vimeo.com/121184435 © David Rehman, Michael Dietz, Thomas Petrach

7. Hardware Prototyping of HUDs Is Hard but Hackable

A great prototyping hack to test reflection in front of moving images: Placing an iPad with the mirrored HUD mockup under a tilted MacBook screen that is showing a driving video from YouTube. © Raureif GmbH
An iPhone taped to the dashboard under the windshield. Great to validate font sizes, animation intensity, and peripheral vision. There are even some commercial apps (like Hudway or Sygic) that are based on this principle. Image: © Sygic.com

8. Most Icons Need Labels

A rare icon like the one for “Steinschlag” (rockfall) in the VW HUD would not be understandable without a label. Even the “low battery” icon in the Tesla HUD profits from a clear English caption. © left: Dominic Rödel, Laurids Düllmann, Phillip Steinacher; right: Constantin Eichstaedt, Steffen Gabel

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Raureif is a design consultancy — the industry experts for user interfaces on any screen. We also make nice apps for iOS.

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Raureif

Raureif

Raureif is a design consultancy — the industry experts for user interfaces on any screen. We also make nice apps for iOS.

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